A new ‘carrier killer’ ballistic missile on service in Chinese Air force
BEIJING, (BM) – China’s ‘Modern Ships’ publication in November revealed artwork of a large new anti ship ballistic missile which is set to be integrated onto the People’s Liberation Army’s (PLA) new H-6N medium weight tactical bomber – the latest iteration of the H-6 design which, in response to a growing and often hostile Western naval presence in Northeast Asia – have increasingly been equipped for a ship hunting role, learned BulgarianMilitary.com quoting Military Watch.
The new missile appears to be larger than a Soviet Scud or American MGM-140 tactical ballistic missile, and is speculated to be derived from the much larger ground based DF-21D ‘carrier killer.’
The missile appears to be a compact solid fuelled design, and though smaller than the ground based ‘carrier killers’ it could achieve similar ranges through a combination of superior fuel composites and its air launched design – meaning it will have considerable kinetic and gravitational potential energy passed onto it from the H-6 bomber when launched.
The H-6N itself has been designed exclusively as a missile platform, and lacks the bomb bays of the original H-6 bomber. The H-6 design is prized for its versatility, reliability and ease of maintenance, and is likely to remain in production throughout the 2020s. The bomber saw its first flight in 1959.
The People’s Liberation Army appears has invested heavily in advanced anti ship weapons, from the YJ-18, YJ-100 and upcoming YJ-XX cruise missiles integrated onto its new destroyers to the DF-21D and anti ship variants of the DF-26 ballistic missiles – the latter which has a high intermediate range allowing it to target enemy warships across much of Southeast Asia.
The DF-21D itself continues to be enhanced, with improvements aimed at increasing its mobility to improve survivability and to extent its range. The introduction of the WZ-8 hypersonic surveillance drone has, furthermore, provided the PLA with an additional means of obtaining targeting data on its potential targets at sea. A new air launched ‘carrier killer’ weapon could allow the PLA to target enemy heavyweight warships including carriers, destroyers and cruisers at longer ranges than the DF-21D, and providing as many means as possible of targeting enemy ships will strengthen China’s ability to deny potential adversaries access to East Asian waters.
The missile will thus complement existing missile and surveillance assets in place. Bombers outfitted for ship hunting are more likely to serve in the PLA Navy than in the Air Force, with the former service deploying a large bomber wing of its own.
The H-6N is reportedly set to integrate other classes of ballistic missile, including a much larger land attack missile which may allow the bomber to provide a strategic deterrent with an intercontinental range.
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Source: Military Watch